British Teacher Fired For Refusing To Use Student’s “Preferred Pronouns” Takes Unfair Dismissal Case To Employment Tribunal

Natasha Biase

A teacher in Wiltshire, England, who was terminated after refusing to refer to a transgender student by her preferred pronouns has stated his case before an employment tribunal. Kevin Lister was fired from his position at New College Swindon in 2022 for misconduct after complaints were filed against him by students for addressing the student by her given name and biological sex.

According to Sky News, the 60-year-old told the employment tribunal in Bristol that using the student’s preferred pronouns has “compelled speech” and that it hadn’t been his role as a math teacher to “confirm the gender transition and social transition of a student.”

The student reportedly complained to educators and administrators at the school in September 2021 that she identified as a boy and wanted to be addressed by a boy’s name and He/Him pronouns.

The complaint was investigated by the college’s student experience manager, Charlotte Best, who submitted a report against Lister to the school’s HR department. 

Addressing Lister before the tribunal, Best claimed his “behavior was unwarranted and repeated and amounted to harassment and bullying” and believed the female student was underperforming and not attending classes due to his behavior.

Despite the accusations, Lister continued to deny accusations that he violated her dignity or that he held “extreme views.”

In addition to pointing out that a 17-year-old student doesn’t have the right to force teachers and students to share her views about her gender identity, Lister also told the tribunal that policies supporting gender ideology “encourage children to socially transition” and push them into the arms of transgender lobby groups.

“I took issue with the demand on me to socially transition children who are unable to make an informed decision,” explained Lister.

Although others testified that Lister deliberately harassed the girl by pointing to her instead of acknowledging her by her preferred pronouns and referring to her by her dead name, he explained he didn’t accept “it was a dead name.”

Referring to an incident involving a class math competition, he said: “I put her name on the board in the name she would be entered into the competition. I don’t accept it was a dead name. I make the point that the name I wrote on the board is the name she would be using to enter her into the girls’ math competition.”

Despite Jude Shepherd, the barrister representing the college, claiming the school’s policy did not “prevent staff members holding gender-critical beliefs from being “inclusive and treating people with respect,” Lister maintained before the tribunal that it was his job as an instructor to teach facts.

As the hearing is ongoing, a decision has not been reached regarding Lister’s employment at the college.

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Natasha Biase

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